Tonight! Tuscan meal
and Lenten Program
6:10 pm Evening Prayer
6:30 pm Low Mass
7:15 pm Meal & Program in
St. Michael Hall, ending by 8:45 pm.
More information below.

Illustration by The Rev. Cara Hochhalter
Sunday, March 31
Laetare Sunday:
The Fourth Sunday in Lent
 7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
8:00 a.m. Low Mass (Rite I)
9:00 a.m. Sung Mass
11:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass
Thea Musgrave (b. 1928)
Missa brevis (2017) U.S. premiere

" But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe-the best one-and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate ."  Luke 15:22-24

This Week at Ascension + March 27, 2019


From the Rector
Also From the Rector
Last Sunday's Sermon
Two William Ferris Chorale Concerts
Sharing Lunch, Sharing Blessings
This Sunday at Ascension
Laetare Sunday Simnel Cake Recipe
The Parish Prayer List
Approved Vestry Minutes Online
The Last Word



"For freedom Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again
to a yoke of slavery."     - Galatians 5:1
"You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle,
but you are worthy of love and belonging ."   - Dr. Brené Brown
Dear people of Ascension,

     What a great moment! Not long ago an older friend was freed of burdens and shame laid on him in childhood. As he described the long, hard inner work and the breakthrough moment in prayer that had led to his emancipation, his eyes shone. He laughed and wept - tears of joy.
     I want that! And I want it for others, including any of you who, like me, are still dogged by some old burdens. Oh, and speaking of burdens: aren't there, for at least a few of us, others we've picked up along the way? Seeing that we're still carrying what we should have let go of long ago only adds to our shame. Right?
     St. Paul knew about the kind of liberation my friend experienced. He called it freedom. Paul argued that 'for freedom Christ has set us free.' How many souls do you know who have attained and sustained what Paul had in mind and heart? Too few, if you're like me.
     My longtime friend's newfound freedom led me to think about the research of Dr. Bren é Brown. That led me to imagine that her message may be particularly timely in Lent. And that leads me to encourage your presence with us at this evening's program.
     To be sure, Bren é Brown is not a credentialed theologian. She doesn't quote the Bible. But sometimes our well-worn theological language - sin, forgiveness and reconciliation - can get stuck in our minds. The intended targets - our hearts and the most troubling wounds and burdens of our lives - are left untouched, or remain barricaded.
     Though not a theologian or a pastor, Bren é Brown is Episcopalian. I imagine she would say that from a spiritual point of view the intent of her work is not to secularize us but to bless us with a more lively and authentic faith.
     I do hope you'll join us tonight. Oh, and by the way, it's free!

The notion of burdens that we carry brings to mind the penance scene from the 1986 film  The Mission, in which Robert De Nero plays the part of Rodrigo, a penitent mercenary and slave trader. 


More about our Lenten Programs

Imagine yourself in Tuscany! At least as far as the food goes. This evening's menu for dinner at 7:15 will include fresh vegetarian minestrone, fresh tossed green salad, sourdough bread and good company. Alas, we'll be in St. Michael Hall -- pleasant enough, but not Tuscany.
Mother Anna Broadbent will join us this evening and will help lead/co-lead our conversation. I wasn't aware until I scheduled this program, that Mother Broadbent was recently certified in a 
training program pioneered by Bren é Brown and called the Daring Way
Next week: Women in Ordained Ministry: Past, Present & Future, led by the Rev. Eileen Shanley-Roberts. You may take a look at all of our Lenten programs here. I am still deciding on the menu. If you have a choice between Broccoli Cheddar soup or Bishop Clark Grew II's New England Clam Chowder with a touch of Vermouth, do let me know!
If you arrive after the end of the Mass for any of our Wednesday evening Lenten Programs , please go through the garden to the parish house doors and ring the doorbell.

The Rev. Dr. Mark McIntosh , Professor of Christian Spirituality at Loyola University, Chicago, will be honored in April with the Living Tradition Award by Loyola's Hank Center for the Catholic Theological Heritage. I regret that Mark, a fellow Episcopal priest and one of the most faithful and brilliant Christians that I know, isn't better known here at Ascension. (I met him at General Seminary and he was later ordained through St. Michael's, Barrington.) Mark was diagnosed in the past year with ALS. I am not aware of his recent condition but am grateful he is being honored and ask for your prayers for him, his wife Anne and their two kids.

Roofing projects approved by the Vestry this past fall will finally get underway ... soon. Both the rectory roof and the largest of the three flat roofs over the parish house have developed numerous leaks over the past several years and are now beyond further repair. The work has been delayed by the harsher-than-usual winter and related city suspension of some building permits.
The Vestry's March meeting will take place Saturday, March 30, 1:15 p.m. in the parish library. We'll mainly continue building our leadership priorities and commitments for 2019. One first order of business, will be for the Vestry to vote on the nomination of Enrique Vilaseco to fill the third and final year in the Vestry term of Jim Drury, who due to some personal reasons unrelated to parish or vestry matters chose in February to resign.

Please vote April 2! You may know that the turnout in the February 26 mayoral election (a primary, as it turned out) was just over 35%. Click here for the website of the City of Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
The Monday evening Annunciation Mass was a beautiful and meaningful liturgy, seemingly appreciated by all who took part, including a number of guests. Others joined me, I know, in especially appreciating David White's 2017  Alma Redemptoris Mater for organ and soprano soloist, that we heard at the concluding visit to the Mary shrine. Most who were present then enjoyed not one but two fantastic renditions of chili, one by  George Pineda , the other by  Patrick Johnston . Thanks to all who took part in all ways, including our cooks, those who cleaned up and Ascension Choir mezzo-soprano  Amy Johnson .
My homily for Monday's Annunciation Mass may be read here.


Read The Rev. Anna Broadbent's sermon from Sunday, March 24 (Lent 3C) by clicking here.

The William Ferris Chorale-under the direction of Ascension Choirmaster Benjamin Rivera and featuring several members of the Ascension choir-is presenting concerts titled "Deliver our Souls" this Friday (Lakeview) and Saturday (Oak Park) !

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets:  Use code "Friends" for a 20% discount, or send Benjamin an email for a even better deal.

To whet your appetite, here is a short rehearsal video featuring Owain Park's
Beati quorum via.  


Our next lunch date is coming right up on Wednesday, April 10th at 12:30 p.m. Please join us beforehand for the noontime Mass! Afterwards, we will enjoy some pasta primavera, salad, grilled eggplant and zucchini, garlic bread, and strawberries. We are definitely trying to think spring!!
For our discussion, we will look at the topic of Lenten prayer. This is certainly a large and somewhat challenging topic, so I hope you will personalize it a bit by sharing the prayers or the prayer practices that are most meaningful to you during Lent. Please send me your suggestions of prayers that might be included on our printed handout for the day. My email is listed below. Many blessings!
Cheryl Peterson

The  Sunday Lectionary readings Schedules of Acolytes, Lectors & Ushers as well as Hymnody, Motets and Organ Voluntaries for  Sunday, March 31, 2019  may be found by clicking  here The Lector's Pronunciation Guide may be found here .


Simnel Cake Simnel Cake is a beloved Lent IV tradition here at Church of the Ascension.  Click here to find the recipe. Then bring your cake to coffee hour on Sunday, March 31st.


Please remember these people in your daily prayers
Geoffrey Wainwright, Fr. John Graham, Dorothy Murray, Mary Lou Devens, Michael Milano, Thomas Holden, Brenton Boitse, Charley Taylor, August 'Augie' Alonzo , Kenvert Samuel, Ted Long, Jim Berger, Ethel Martin, Rachel Barton Pine, Demos Kukeas, Norb Bragiel, Yuka Asai, Dean Pineda, Pastor Fred Overdier,  Kristen Halvorsen, Helena Wilson, Denise Gordon, Vicki Giusti, Sr. Barbara Louise OSA, Bazelais Suy, Carnola Malone, Charlene MacDougal, Thom Ehlen, Mary Pascale, Frank & Annette Kuhle, Krista Delaney, Pedro Illás

Prayers for the departed
Fred Malek, friend of Charlene and Gary MacDougal

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

The Approved Minutes of Vestry meetings are now available online to parishioners who request the link.  If you would like Internet access to the Approved Vestry Minutes, please email the  Church Office and request the link. 
Once you access the web page, you can read all recent Approved Vestry Minutes.  In addition, if you click on the subscribe button at the top right, you will be given email notice whenever a new set of Approved Minutes is added. 


Everyone has a Story
June 8 2018
I woke up this morning to the news of Anthony Bourdain's death. I adored his work and our family made it a point to put all of his recommendations on our travel lists. I had so much respect for his fearlessness, transparency, and love of people. His death is heartbreaking.
I was also a huge Kate Spade fan. My first bag was a giraffe-print "Sam bag" - it took me six months to save enough money to buy it.  I carried it every single day for two years. I still wear her jewelry, use her stationary, and love her clothes.
The news of these deaths is a cruel reminder about the realities of depression and anxiety, and about the dangerous stories that we make up about those "successful" people who don't know anything about pain and never need help. I say dangerous because they're never true.
Everyone has a story or a struggle that will break your heart. And, if we're really paying attention, most people have a story that will bring us to our knees.
You would think the universal nature of struggle would make it easier for all of us to ask for help, but in a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there can still be so much shame around reaching out, especially if we're not raised to understand the irreducible nature of human need.
We can encourage our children to ask for help; however, if they don't see us reaching out for support and modeling that behavior, they will instead attach value to never needing help.
We also send strong messages to the people around us, including our children, friends, and employees, when they ask for help, and in return, we treat them differently - as if they are now less reliable, competent, or productive.
And, when we respond to a tragedy like this one with unfounded comments and criticism about how someone who most of us didn't know at all managed her struggle, her meds, her work, her family - whatever the focus - we help create that culture where it feels like help-seeking just opens us up to more pain and judgment. I think we do this because we want to believe that if you do everything you're supposed to do, this will never happen. Just like cancer, it unfortunately doesn't work that way.
To say that suicide is selfish is not only wrong - it's ironically and sadly incredibly self-protective. It's as if you're raising your hand and saying,"Although I didn't know you and I clearly do not understand clinical depression and suicide, I'm going to continue judging people who die from it even if it causes unimaginable pain and trauma to the survivors and further stigmatizes mental illness because it makes me feel better than, safer, and more comfortable."
To know pain is human. To need is human. And, no amount of money, influence, resources, or sheer determination will change our physical, emotional, and spiritual dependence on others.
Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It's as if we've divided the world into "those who offer help" and "those who need help." The truth is that we are both.  Need is the most beautiful compact between humans.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255 | TTY at 1-800-799-4889
Text START to 741741 from anywhere in the US, about any type of crisis
International help: Visit

Fr. Patrick Raymond,

Susan Schlough,      

Parish Office